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Law - Free Web Legal Research Sources: Cases

What is a Case?

A legal case, also known as a decision or legal opinion, is the pronouncement of a court of law on a particular issue brought before it by the parties in a lawsuit. Legal cases can be found in printed books called law Reporters or in free or fee-based databases online.  Only a small percentage of court decisions are officially published in a print court reporter. The most published decisions are issued by the United States Supreme court. State trial courts produce the lowest percentage of published cases. Some courts provide copies of their decisions free on the web while others do not.

Structure of the U.S. Court System

The U.S. court system consists of both federal and state courts.  These court systems generally contain three levels of courts: 1) the trial court (called the district court on the federal level), 2) the court of appeals, and 3) the Supreme Court (the highest level of appeal).  For more information U.S. Courts see the following:

United States Supreme Court

Subject Guide

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